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Good Super Tuesday morning, at long last.
California voters will today help decide a number of issues critical to our democracy — including but not limited to the Democratic nominee to become president of the United States and whether the state should be able to borrow $15 billion for public school upgrades.
So if you’re not one of the more than 3.5 million Californians who have already cast ballots, it’s time to hit the polls. Or it’s time to drop off your vote-by-mail ballot at a mailbox. Or to bring your ballot to a drop box.
As we’ve mentioned a few times recently, California officials want to make it really easy for everyone who’s eligible to vote.
So far, readers have emailed us to say the voting process has been smooth and easy, particularly in the 15 counties that have adopted the elections model laid out in the Voter’s Choice Act.
There’s just one problem: The ease of voting early means that some Californians have voted for Democratic presidential candidates who have dropped out of the race, as Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar have done in recent days.
Officials with the secretary of state’s office on Monday emphasized that, no, if you already sent off or turned in your ballot, you may not change your vote or vote again.
However, if you’ve filled out your ballot and have not turned it in, you can take it to a polling place and exchange it for a new one.
Now, here are answers to some last-minute questions you might have:
How do I find the nearest place to vote?
You can find your nearest polling place here, but as the site notes, you may find multiple addresses if you live in a Voter’s Choice Act county, because you can vote at any of the new voting centers rather than a single neighborhood polling place.
And don’t forget: Every polling place has same-day voter registration, in case you missed the deadline to register online.
Why won’t we have definitive results tonight?
Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, has repeated, “We’d rather get it right than get it fast.”
County election offices will continue to accept ballots that have been postmarked by and received within three days of Election Day. (So, Friday, in this case.) Then, it can take up to 30 days for county election officials to verify that those ballots have been cast by eligible voters.
Another reason things will take longer is that vote data can’t be transmitted online, and machines can’t be connected to the internet for security.
In any case, thousands of trained volunteers will be heading to polling places.
“This is about as close to a military operation you can get in the civilian world,” Neal Kelley, Orange County’s registrar of voters, told reporters recently.
Who should I vote for?
Well, we can’t tell you that. But local news outlets have put together some helpful features:
A look at the candidates to represent the desert in Congress and the State Legislature. [The Desert Sun]
An expansive voter guide with information on races around the state, as well as L.A. City Council contests and the high-profile battle to become L.A.’s next district attorney. (That last one became even more intense on Monday, when the husband of the incumbent, Jackie Lacey, waved a gun at Black Lives Matter protesters outside the couple’s home before dawn.) [The Los Angeles Times]
Interviews with more than 90 candidates for San Diego-area offices, from the San Diego Unified School Board to Congress. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
A guide to San Francisco ballots, including explanations of city propositions, like one that would tax property owners who keep storefronts empty in certain areas. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
A rundown of Orange County primaries, like closely watched congressional races and contests for seats on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. [Voice of O.C.]
The Fresno Bee’s endorsements in key local races. [The Fresno Bee]
A look at local races around Sacramento. [The Sacramento Bee]
And a broad guide to races worth keeping an eye on across California, in case you’re looking for more. [CalMatters]
Anything else I should know?
Watch for the ways in which inequality is shaping the presidential primary here.
As my colleagues reported, many Californians are feeling as though they can’t afford to stay in the Golden State. That anxiety, some said, is affecting their politics.
But the primary results, particularly in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley, will also tell candidates how their messages may play in other states, said Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate dean of U.C. Riverside’s School of Public Policy. (It’s no accident that those parts of California have gotten more attention from presidential suitors this year than they have in the past.)
As in the Rust Belt, for instance, the Inland Empire’s manufacturing industry is a shell of its former self, but logistics and shipping are growing. So, the availability of jobs has largely bounced back from the recession, “but economic inequality and poverty remain significant issues,” Mr. Ramakrishnan told me recently.
Of course, all this points back to the housing crisis as a major issue. My colleague Maggie Astor wrote about all the candidates’ proposals to make housing more affordable. You can read that here.
Lots of other Times reporters will be on the ground in California today, including Katie Glueck, Jennifer Medina, Thomas Fuller, Tim Arango and yours truly. So follow along, and maybe we’ll see you out there.
Here’s what else we’re following
We often link to sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times coverage, but we also encourage you to support local news if you can.
The latest wrinkle in the response to the coronavirus outbreak? Families are being hit with surprise medical bills for government-mandated care. [The New York Times]
In the Bay Area, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, there are mounting concerns about how it will affect the region’s most vulnerable residents: Those experiencing homelessness, particularly those living in densely populated encampments. [The Mercury News]
At least 74 teaching assistants have been fired or barred from spring appointments by U.C. Santa Cruz over their participation in a strike. Graduate students have been pushing for higher pay to deal with sky-high costs of living. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
And Finally …
Pour out a Two Buck Chuck for Joseph Coulombe, the founder of Trader Joe’s, who died on Friday at home in Pasadena, which is also where the first of what would become a chain of hundreds of stores opened in 1967.
Based on his obituary, Mr. Coulombe, a San Diego-bred, Stanford-educated entrepreneur, sounds like a psychic. He told The Los Angeles Times in 2011 that he envisioned the stores as escapes “for overeducated and underpaid people.”
He seems to have predicted the kind of mainstreaming of “health food” trends that has made it possible for you to buy a green juice at basically any gas station in the country. And, crucially, he included reasonably priced liquors, beers and wines in the mix — many of which he taste-tested himself.
In 1987, he told The Times he sampled about 4,000 wines per year.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.